Well, we now know who is next into the hot seat, and it has all taken place quite quickly. I did expect, however, that the club’s owners would like a new manager to have a week to warm his seat at Villa Park.
I have previously expressed my fear that Steven Gerrard will see Villa as a ‘stepping stone’ towards the Liverpool job, whenever that becomes available.
It’s not that I simply fear that he will always think of ‘Pool as a bigger club to which he owes greater allegiance, but the worry that he probably will not be able to relate to Villa in the same way as Dean was able to. As a historian, I am well aware that a Villa personality, or identity, was strongly built from the earliest of its days and helped make the club what it was in the first 50 years.
In the years since, that core identity got dissipated, and later boards largely lived on past glories. Until the 1970s. But even then the original Villa formula did not get truly repeated but showed that perhaps that kind of core identity was not essential to short-term success (1980-82).
The fact is, though, that I see that original core identity as being the real basis for permanent success, though it may take years to develop it. And this was the biggest disappointment about Dean’s departure as he was the hope of building that. Unfortunately, he was not up to it sufficiently to take it forward.
Therefore, I persist in believing and saying that the appointment of Gerrard could work against the club’s long-term interests. Not necessarily, I agree, but the truly sustainable way is for the club to have a ‘Villa Way’ ethic or identity, and whether Gerrard will fully relate to that I am not sure.
If we want him in as a manager who will simply demand more out of his players and gain a few long-awaited trophies, that short-termism view could re-bound quite negatively when Gerrard moves on and if a Villa identity has not been established.
Having said all that, it is incumbent upon us all to get behind him and maybe enable him to see the error of his ways if he continues to lean towards Liverpool!
Just my enlarged thoughts on the matter. His appointment causes me some concern, but, who knows, it could all work out well. So long as we don’t go back into another slump after he goes. Having said that we don’t know yet whether he will take us to any peaks first!
Right, the matter at hand is all done and dusted (except a few details) so, with one last farewell and a big ‘thank you’ to Dean Smith, let’s get on with the playing and getting back to winning ways!
It’s over to you Steven!
Vital Villa’s Steven Gerrard Forum Thread